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Our Top 5 Favourite Heist Movies

As security experts, and commercial security system fitters across London and Essex, our job is to make your premises as heist-proof as possible. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them on screen. Here are five of our favourites.


  1. Oceans 11

Arguably the best cast ever assembled, certainly in a heist movie, this epic ensemble includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts. Steven Soderbegh’s update of the 1960 Frank Sinatra classic, intending to empty the vaults of not one, not two, but an incredible three Vegas casinos in the same night. The group use a heavyweight title fight as their cloak and dagger. One of Clooney’s best performances, alongside a second act which propelled Brad Pitt into stardom. Oceans 11 is one of the best heist movies ever and its rewatchable quality means its firmly secure on this list.


  1. Widows

The newest entry on this list, Steve McQueen’s classy thriller follows four women whose husbands died at the hands of police during an attempted heist. The widows then attempt to settle their sadly exploded partners’ debts, taking things into their own hands. To pay back $2 million to a crime boss the husbands had ripped off, they plan to make off with $5 million using a plan from one of the deceased’s notebooks. Led by an incredible performance by Viola Davis alongside Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon, Widows is a fingernail biting, intelligent film whose heroines give a fresh twist on a previously male dominated film genre.


  1. Inside Man

Spike Lee has seen an incredible resurgence in the last few years with critically acclaimed blockbusters such as BlacKkKlansman and Da 5 Bloods doing well on and off screen. However, it’s Inside Man that makes our list. When Spike Lee dipped into the heist genre, like most things he does- he smashed it. The heist itself comes early, and it’s a complex one involving thieves dressed as decorators and an elaborate hostage situation. As such, it quickly turns from you, the viewer, asking who was responsible to why would they do it? Featuring Denzel Washington and Chiwetl Ejiofor and a fantastic Clive Owen as a criminal ringleader, its everything you’d expect from Lee. It’s a fantastic, intelligent blockbuster of a thriller, and nobody captures New York quite like Lee does.


  1. Inception

Christopher Nolan’s thoughtful crime story did for the heist genre what he went on to do with Interstellar for the space genre. A complex and often hard to follow blockbuster pays off for the hard work it takes to reach the end. It’s a testament to how complicated the latter is that Inception has aged as relatively straight-forward to follow. The film follows Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) a criminal who doesn’t steal money or artifacts like other entries on this list, but instead steals mental information from his victim’s dreams. In a realm in which five hours of real time accounts for fifty years in the dream world, the stakes are high and the plan has to be executed with precision, pushing the boundaries of heist films like never before. Presented with an offer he cannot refuse, Cobb must perform an inception on his competitor’s ill child in order to have his criminal past wiped clean and the freedom to see his family once again.


  1. The Taking of Pelham 123

Walter Mathau is the bored, grumpy Lieutenant Garber, who finds the tedium of the New York Metro office shattered when a group of identically dressed and heavily armed men steal a subway train- Pelham 123. The gang, led by Robert Shaw’s brilliant psychopathic Mr Blue, wants a million dollars. How do they plan to get away with the money from hundreds of feet under the city? With great performances that are full of character, The Taking of Pelham 123 also has a funky soundtrack really, really kicks. Sometimes simple is better. Or in this case, best.


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5 Home Fire Solutions

If you are a landlord responsible for a rental home, how safe is it from a fire? You might lack a definite idea. According to statistics shared by the UK Government, fire and rescue services (FRSs) in England last year attended 27,482 dwelling fires – of which almost 90% were caused accidentally.

So, what could potentially start a fire in your property? As revealed in further Government-supplied statistics, most fires start when people are cooking – and, every six days, someone dies in a home fire resulting from a cigarette. Faulty electrics, meanwhile, cause about 6,000 domestic fires yearly.

As a landlord, you are legally required to undertake numerous safety precautions to protect your property and tenants. You could consider any of the following fire solutions we have available for landlords to use for any rental homes they may own in London and the South East.

Emergency lighting

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) outlines numerous legal obligations you must heed in the name of fire safety. Those obligations include checking that your tenants will have access to escape routes at all times – but how exactly would they find those escape routes?

They could do so with help from emergency lighting you to get installed at the domestic accommodation in question. You could task us with doing the installation work itself, ensuring that the safe exit routes will be clearly visible when they are urgently needed.

Emergency lighting is so-called as it is designed to continue running even when electrical failure leads to “normal” lighting elsewhere in the property failing – and consequently reducing visibility.

Fire alarm installation

The safety precautions you are legally required to take as a landlord include providing a smoke alarm in each storey of any rental property you own, as well as adding a carbon monoxide alarm to any room housing a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove.

Fortunately, our BS 5839-qualified design and engineering teams are capable of comprehensively designing and installing fire alarm systems of any size or type.

For example, if you own any HMO (homes of multiple occupation) buildings, we can visit those to install communal fire alarm systems complete with AOV (automatic opening vents).

Fire alarm maintenance

Did you know that, each year, 35 people die as a result of their smoke alarm not functioning? It’s no understatement to say that working smoke alarms could save your tenants’ lives – hence why you should make sure all fire alarms fitted in your properties remain in good working order.

Fortunately, you can ensure exactly that by drawing upon our fire alarm maintenance service. As a bare minimum, the regulatory requirement is for you to have each of your fire alarms serviced twice per year, though four annual service visits would be needed for properties classed as higher-risk.

In regularly servicing your fire alarms, we can also help to prevent them from triggering false alarms and thus potentially wasting the precious time and energy of local FRSs.

Fire extinguisher installation

As regulations pertaining to HMOs are especially stringent, you should get in touch with your local council to understand precisely what regulations you must follow if you are letting an HMO. However, if the property is a large HMO, you will certainly need to provide fire extinguishers.

We can supply you with the fire extinguishers each of your properties need. In doing so, we will carefully consider what fire hazards these buildings pose. For example, we can install CO2 fire extinguishers at homes that have electrical equipment – though in many instances we tend to opt for water fire extinguishers, largely because they are renowned for their cost-effectiveness.

Fire extinguisher servicing

Any fire extinguishers installed in a given property of yours should be both checked when a new tenancy begins and periodically rechecked in the course of property inspections.

We can undertake fire extinguisher servicing in London, Essex and Surrey; keep in mind that each of your fire extinguishers must be serviced every 12 months.

You mustn’t overlook your fire safety obligations

It’s important that you look up the fire safety regulations you are, as a residential landlord, legally required to follow. If a fire breaks out at any of your domestic properties and you have failed to put suitable fire-safety measures in place for this accommodation, you could be hit with legal action.

For this reason, if you have any rental properties located in London or elsewhere in the South East, we urge you to contact us by phoning 01708 470351 or emailing sales@firstfordltd.co.uk.

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Top 5 Movie Security Systems

Top 5 Movie Security Systems


Wanting to keep your family safe at home isn’t asking too much, but when your family is The Incredibles, super villains can lurk in every corner, meaning a traditional burglar alarm servicing in London might not be efficient!

Then again, at the other end of the spectrum, you should also invest in something a bit more secure than spreading toys across the floor in the hopes that burglars won’t look down and will, in comedic fashion, slip and invertedly keep your home safe in the process. In the most extreme cases, we hope to provide a solution that means you don’t feel the need to instal a panic room that essentially seals off the most important part of the home, your family.

Here are a few of our favourite alternative movie security solutions which we wholeheartedly don’t recommend…


Home Alone

When two burglars can be taken down by a kid with a bunch of toys and a mindset for trouble you know they’re might have picked the right career path. It’s only by the end that they start to actually outsmart Kevin and begin to anticipate what he’s going to do. Thankfully it’s a kids a movie so even after outsmarting him, theres some classical comedy moments that leave the robbers in sticky situations- literally. In a real drama however these guys probably would have figured this house is no longer worth the trouble after a few broken bones and a trip to A&E on the cards.


The Incredibles

There aren’t a lot of better systems that can defend your home than a science fiction omnidroid that can think for itself and resist everything and learn from its opponents in order to never be outsmarted. This thing has been shown to be able to withstand nearly everything that Supers can throw at it throughout the film and just continued to be an all-round pain in the omnidroid. If you’re an evil genius or super villain then it’s the must have security tech for your evil lair. Might be slight overkill for your semidetached house in Brentwood…


The Italian Job

Any home with a fully operational guard tower is simply way too expensive to be considered attainable by any but the billionaires of the world. One way to take the stress off of having to keep your home secure is to just pay someone else to do it.


Bad Boys 2

Tapia in Bad Boys 2 goes one step further than a guard tower, he instead, has armed soldiers guarding his home at all times. Of course, that’s not much of a match in the film for a small band of highly specialized soldiers and a couple of ambitious detectives on the verge of so called retirement. Maybe a simple alarm system would have surficed…


Panic Room

The idea of a panic room is a simple one. In the time of panic, as the name suggests, you retreat into a purposely built panic room where you are safe until you re-emerge. Seems a bit over the top to us. Surely a CCTV and intruder alarms would be enough to keep you safe from most things? How bad must you have annoyed someone to feel the need for a panic room in the first place…


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Five Incredible Insurance Claims

If you’re one of the lucky few, you might never have to make a claim against your insurance in your life. For many other people though, things do go wrong and they’ll make a claim in order to protect themselves financially in the event of unexpected accidents, disasters or other losses.

But it’s one thing making a claim for a car accident or for a burst water pipe. The thought of having to claim for the amounts listed here will surely make all parties wince!

Below, we list the most expensive insurance claims of all time, how much was paid out and the reasons why the claims were made.

Most Expensive Pet Insurance Claim – £16,000

As a nation of animal lovers, it’s not uncommon for people to take out insurance policies to make sure they can afford the bill if anything were to happen to their beloved pets, but some people can take things a little too far.

The record for the most expensive pet insurance claim was set back in 2010, with the owner receiving approximately £16,000 to pay for their cat’s kidney surgery. Apparently, the cat wasn’t particularly rare or special either, but just a common, everyday house cat.

Most Expensive Car Insurance Claim – £910,000

As Mr Bean, he’s best known for pootling about in a bright green Mini, but in real life actor Rowan Atkinson is a serious petrolhead and actually holds the record for the largest-ever car insurance claim.

There was no funny business about this: in 2011, Atkinson hit a patch of water in the road and smashed up his ultra-rare McLaren F1. Although he had originally paid £640,000 for the supercar, its value had increased to an estimated £3.5 million over the years, leading his insurance company to pay out a record £910,000 for repairs.

Most Expensive Life Insurance – £148 million

Technically, this one hasn’t been claimed yet but if nothing changes between now and when it is, it’ll go down in the history books as the largest life insurance claim ever.

Back in 2014, the world’s largest life insurance policy was purchased by an anonymous Silicon Valley billionaire, who paid approximately £148 million to protect his “significant” assets. Any theories on who it might be…?

Most Expensive Art Insurance Claim – £26.5 million

In 1994, three expensive paintings were stolen from an art gallery in Frankfurt, which resulted in the most expensive art insurance payout of all time. The paintings, two Turners and one by Caspar David Friedrich, had been on loan from the Tate Gallery in London and insured for roughly £13 million each.

Two years later, the insurer paid the Tate approximately £26.5 million in compensation. As if that wasn’t interesting enough, this art heist is still unique in that the paintings were eventually recovered by buying them back from the very thieves who stole them for €270,000.

The Most Expensive Insurance Claim Of All Time – £15.4 trillion

The 2008 financial collapse was responsible for the most expensive insurance payout of all time as the worldwide implosion of the financial sector saw countless businesses, financial institutes and economies suddenly fail, requiring a staggering payout of £15.4 trillion in total.

That’s more than the GDP of the entirety of the United States, and due to the sheer amount of claims being made, many insurance providers at the time didn’t actually have enough money to pay out claims, with several going outright bankrupt as a result.

Even today, the ongoing effects of this massive chain of claims is being felt with higher business insurance premiums and some insurance companies now refusing to provide cover in the event of another global market collapse.


To avoid extreme insurance claims like these, get in touch today to see how we can secure your property with our CCTV camera installation in London.

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Five Of The Most Secure Locations Around The World

Everyone has security concerns, however big or small. Whether it’s ensuring your front door is locked at home, or entrusting us to install a state of the art access security system here in Essex, security is a part of everyone’s lives.. However, there are some premises which require more security than most; and some, that require a level of security that even we can’t wrap our head around!


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Two Events That Changed Fire Safety In London Forever

When it comes to events consisting of fire in London, everyone will often immediately jump to the aptly named Great Fire of London in 1666 that started on pudding lane and quickly demolished the majority of the wooden built central area of the city.

However, there are two events in more recent times that have seen direct changes as a consequence, keeping us safer around fire in the capital. (more…)

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A Guide To Kitchen Fire Safety

The kitchen for many is an essential space and almost always a safe place. However, this can quickly spiral out of control. Thousand people are injured in kitchen fires each year and due to the horrific nature of fire’s spread, many lose their life. Don’t be one of them, take the steps ahead to stay safe within the kitchen environment.

Nearly two-thirds of all domestic fires happen because of cooking. The kitchen is the single most dangerous place in your home, and yet similar problems often cause fires when they occur. If you know about those problems, you can avoid them. This section covers how to keep safe while cooking, plus what to do if the worst occurs and a fire starts in your kitchen.


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Fire extinguisher servicing and maintenance contracts in Essex

Fire extinguisher maintenance is a requirement for any commercial building to ensure they are always the right type, in the right place and are working correctly, so that in the event of a fire, they provide the protection you need instantly. Based in Hornchurch, we provide fire extinguisher servicing throughout Essex, London and across the UK. Our fire extinguisher contracts give you peace of mind and ensure that you are meeting all required standards in fire safety for you and your staff.


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Fire extinguisher servicing and maintenance contracts in London

Companies searching for fire extinguisher servicing in London often have the same questions about fire extinguisher servicing contracts, so here we intend to outline the type of tasks our engineeers carry out during a routine fire extinguisher service, and why they are so important.

Fire extinguisher maintenance is a requirement for any commercial building to ensure they are always the right type, in the right place and are working correctly, so that in the event of a fire, they provide the protection you need instantly. Our fire extinguisher contracts give you peace of mind and ensure that you are meeting all required standards in fire safety for you and your staff.


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Fire Alarm Engineers In London

We are a highly reputable team of fire alarm engineers. If you are looking for fire alarms in London, or a company to maintain, service, or design and install your fire alarm system then do contact us to discuss your requirements.

Our fire alarm engineers are based in London, Essex and the South East of England so we can offer a 24 hour support contract with fast response in an emrgency. All of our engineers are fully qualified, Firstford Ltd is ‘Safe Contractor Approved’ and we are accredited by the Fire Protection Association

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